Secret recordings obtained by Unearthed, the investigative unit of Greenpeace UK, reveal that at least two lobbyists for oil and gas conglomerate ExxonMobil were explicitly working against recent climate legislation, according to The Guardian. The news comes as a direct contradiction to the company’s public support of environmental policy.
Posing as headhunters looking to recruit a D.C. lobbyist for a client, the Unearthed investigators found that Exxon executives consider the company’s backing of a carbon tax as nothing more than “an advocacy tool” and a “great talking point.”
“Nobody is going to propose a tax on all Americans and the cynical side of me says, yeah, we kind of know that but it gives us a talking point that we can say, ‘well what is ExxonMobil for, we’re for a carbon tax,’” Keith McCoy, Exxon’s senior director of federal relations, said.
McCoy and Dan Easley, a former member of the company’s executive branch and a regulatory team lead for federal relations, were recorded while on a Zoom call with the undercover agents.
Both men referred to Exxon’s recent involvement in lobbying against President Joe Biden’s American Jobs Plan. Last week, Biden struck a deal on the infrastructure bill with a bipartisan group of senators. However, compromise came at the expense of certain climate-related initiatives originally proposed.
Exxon also revealed its use of “shadow groups” to “aggressively” fight climate science; despite this and other statements, company officials insist that they have long advocated for the environment. Exxon executives are now accusing Greenpeace of launching a false campaign against them, according to Business Insider.